Salt question for bacon

Discussion in 'Bacon' started by custom99, Jun 25, 2011.

  1. I bought an 11 pound pork belly.$2.20 per lb is the best we found. I tried to find the tender quick and did not find any. I tried within a 50 mile radius of Pittsburgh and no one sells it. I ended up buying something called internal curing salt. Ingredients: salt, 6.25% sodium nitrite and .45 gram % fd&c red #3. Says to use 4 oz for 100lbs meat. Is this used the same as the tq. I saw on some of the things I was looking at that you had to add ingredients to it. I was going to cut the slab down to (3) 3lb pieces and (1) 2 pounder.
     
  2. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    What you have is Cure #1.  It is not interchangeable with Tender Quick. 

    With cure #1 you use 1oz per 25# of meat or 1 tsp per 5# if meat.  DO NOT use more than what is recommended.
     
  3. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    What Beer said!
     
  4. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Looks like what is recommended by the label is what everyone else recommends, 1 oz per 25lbs.  This is just for cure, you can add additional salt, sugar and spices as you desire, just don't add additional cure. 

    If you follow a recipe use the amounts included in the recipe unless there a specific instruction on the label of the cure.   I recommend a dry cure for bacon using the Cure 1 you just purchased.  USDA recommends against nitrates found in TenderQuick when curing bacon so unlike so many others on this forum I do not use TenderQuick. 

    Let me know or do a search.    I'll be happy to provide an exact recipe to you if you are interested.

    Al

    BTW why cut the slab down?  Do you lack room in the fridge or is the smoker to small to handle the entire belly?
     
  5. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Al,
    Have you questioned Morton Salt Company?

    Have you contacted the USDA?

    I have done both:

    As I read it, The problem is with Nitrates in commercially made bacon & their injection system.

    But with the ragging on about Tender Quick, I called Morton Salt, and asked them about nitrates in their cure.
    Their Tech said it is perfectly safe for curing Bacon, and always has been, and anybody who says it isn't safe is wrong!

    Then I emailed the USDA:
    I said, If it isn't safe, maybe the USDA should tell Morton Salt about it.
    Maybe it should say on the package, "DO NOT USE TO CURE BACON!"
    I told them, I have 17.2 pounds of Pork Belly in my refrigerator, curing in Tender Quick right now for my own use.
    I was planning on smoking it Saturday, June 18, 2011. 

    I asked them if it was safe to eat, if I follow the instructions on the Tender Quick bag.

    This is the reply I got from the USDA:

     Response Via Email (PDD Staff Officer)06/14/2011 06:54 PM

    Enjoy your home cured/smoked bacon. I am sure that Morton Company is aware of the USDA FSIS Policy change away from nitrates. The concern for nitrosamines and cholesterol has scared some into changing their eating habits.

    I enjoy scrambled eggs, bacon, homemade hash browns and black coffee with caffeine for breakfast every chance I get and have been for the past 45 years. I also enjoy ham with my eggs sometimes as well......smoked pork ribs....pulled pork BBQ...salami....summer sausage...jerky....and on and on.

    Maybe you could email them, and see what answer you get.

    Thanks,

    Bear
     
     
  6. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Not quite sure what parts of your post are direct quotes for either Morton's Salt or the USDA so there really is no way to hold anyone accountable.  I have tried several times to contact Morton's using their on-line question format and did not receive a reply. The USDA guidelines are published and readily available. Not sure why there would be a difference between commercial operations and the general public. I did not notice a specific qualification that the general public should not follow those printed guidelines when I was reading the documentation. 

    It is easier to perform the calculations for concentrations of cure for bacon when using simple combinations of Nitrite and salt then using mixtures of Nitrite, Nitrate and salt.  I have no control over how fast the Nitrate converts to Nitrite during the cure process so I have a problem determining just how much Nitrite was available for take up by the green bacon.

    To each his own.  I like Cure 1 because I have more flexibility with the amount of salt I can add and the general availability of recipes based on Cure 1.  I'm more of a basic ingredients kind of cook.  I mix my own rubs and spice mixes.  Make my own pancake mix, bake bread from flour, yeast, oil, salt and water, and try to make biscuits from scratch.  

    It is my belief that a person new to curing meats is better served understanding and using basic cures and spice mixes.  Concentrate on learning good technique, learn how changes to a technique change the final product.    If you had asked me the same question  "I have 20 lbs of cured bacon in the fridge.  I cured it with Morton's tenderquick according to Morton's directions. Is it safe to eat?"  I would have said "yes, go ahead and enjoy your bacon".    If you had told me  " I smoked a cigarette and drank a shot of Scotch the other day, do I need to go get a chest x-ray"  my answer would have been "probably not"  go ahead and enjoy a cigarette and a drink occasionally.   I would also recommend not to make a habit of it.

    You have every right to not agree with my reasoning and logic, but I think that what I say makes sense to a lot of people and should not be easily dismissed.
     
  7. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Direct quotes in BLUE:

    But with the ragging on about Tender Quick, I called Morton Salt, and asked them about nitrates in their cure.
    Their Tech said it is perfectly safe for curing Bacon, and always has been, and anybody who says it isn't safe is wrong!

     Then I emailed the USDA:

    I said, If it isn't safe, maybe the USDA should tell Morton Salt about it.
    Maybe it should say on the package, "DO NOT USE TO CURE BACON!"
    I told them, I have 17.2 pounds of Pork Belly in my refrigerator, curing in Tender Quick right now for my own use.
    I was planning on smoking it Saturday, June 18, 2011. 

    I asked them if it was safe to eat, if I follow the instructions on the Tender Quick bag.

    ( I also told them I had been using it for years, and I love it)

    This is the reply I got from the USDA:

     Response Via Email (PDD Staff Officer)06/14/2011 06:54 PM

    Enjoy your home cured/smoked bacon.  I am sure that Morton Company is aware of the USDA FSIS Policy change away from nitrates. The concern for nitrosamines and cholesterol has scared some into changing their eating habits.

    I enjoy scrambled eggs, bacon, homemade hash browns and black coffee with caffeine for breakfast every chance I get and have been for the past 45 years. I also enjoy ham with my eggs sometimes as well......smoked pork ribs....pulled pork BBQ...salami....summer sausage...jerky....and on and on.


    The reason I called Morton's, and emailed USDA was not because I was worried about Tender Quick.

    It was because every time someone mentions cure, you post how TQ is not safe.

    Then I say if it wasn't safe they wouldn't be allowed to sell it as a safe cure for Bacon & other meats.

    I asked you before if you ever asked the USDA why they allow it to be sold, or if you ever talked to Morton's techs.

    You said you tried, but could not get ahold of them.

    So I did it.

    It took about 2 minutes to get to talk to someone from Mortons (on the phone), and USDA got back to me the next day.

    I have not seen anything that makes me think Morton Tender Quick is unsafe.

    Morton's actually got very disturbed at me. I told them ---"Whoa--Whoa---it wasn't me who said it was unsafe, it was another guy".

    They said you were wrong, and you should call them, instead of badmouthing their product, about something you don't understand.

    All I can say is what I asked both of them, and the answers I got from them.

    Like I said, Maybe you can get different answers from them.

    Call Morton's, and let us know what they tell you.

    Email USDA, and ask them what I asked them (Is Tender Quick safe?, and if not, why are they allowed to sell it?)

    Later Al,

    Bear
     
  8. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Fl
    Do you guys think this is an appropriate conversation to be having on a new guys question???

      Craig
     
  9. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Probably not, Craig, and I apologize to custom99, but you gotta answer things where they come up.

    This was the second time Tender Quick was put down today.

    I ignored the other one, but answered this one with what I had found from the two parties in question by some.

    I apologize again to custom99.

    Bear
     
  10. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have complete confidence in both Morton's Tenderquick in it's prescribed amounts, and also in Cure #1 in its prescribed amounts and in the processes explained here.  The primary thing to remember is using it in its prescribed amounts and no more; it can kill you. When in doubt throw it out if you've made a calculation error and added too much.  This isn't going to increase the National Debt if you have to and it's better safe than sorry.  We all have our opinions and sometimes better to be debated in PM's and not aired in public until a consensus is determined, then agreed upon and not fueling an open debate, or a chat session at a future date for all parties involved.

    We apologize for highjacking the thread and may we continue on giving our superlative advice to our newer members to lessen their confusion and increase their correct knowledge.
     
  11. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    X2
     
  12. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead


    Bear,

    Do you mind forwarding those emails in their entirety to me? All of the books I have read along with many different websites all say that nitrate is not to be used in products that are to be fried. I would like to see those emails for myself if you don't mind. solaryellow AT gmail DOT com. Thanks!
     
  13. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I don't have a dog in this fight and I do not wish to be baited into constantly arguing about the subject.  Any posts I make about the use of Cures is to provide my reasoning and experience for the benefit of visitors that are still learning about curing meats.  I depend on cite-able, published documentation like the Marianski Book, Kutas book, numerous published cookbooks, and USDA and FDA guidelines.

    Personally I believe Tenderquick is a safe product when used in moderation.  The jury is still out as to the long term toxicity of Nitrosamines.  It appears that the amounts of Nitrosamines required to cause harm is so high that a normal diet, even diets including nitrosoamine rich foods, will not be significantly more harmful to the average, healthy, human body.   As stated earlier one reason I prefer Cure 1 is that I can better control the amount of salt in my cures. 

    A telephone conversation is not a credible reference. The email response you received from the USDA puts the responsibility directly on Mortons.   I would be interested to see someone from the USDA offer an opinion different from the official opinion of the agency.  Seems like a good way to ruin a career. 

    I hope I don't have to deal with this argument every time I mention the reasons I prefer to use Cure 1 instead of Tenderquick.   

    Al Blancher
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2011
  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks Pops, I agree, used properly, both TQ & Cure #1 are very good cures.

    SolarYellow,

    The Email from USDA is copied & pasted word for word.

    The words I reported from Morton Salt were over the phone.

    You are allowed to call them, or email them yourself.

    I am quite satisfied with the answers I got from them.

    The USDA has different policies for commercial processors, but allows them to use nitrates in everything except food for babies, toddlers, and Bacon. 

    They do not report any problem with Tender Quick (that I can find).

    If TQ was bad, Morton Salt could not sell it. If it was anything like cigarettes, they would have to put on the outside of the pack, "Caution, using Tender Quick could be Hazardous to your health".

    Let us know what they tell you,

    Bear
     
  15. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You can mention that you prefer cure #1 every time, just like I mention I prefer Tender Quick every time, but if you don't want to hear from me, don't try to tell people Tender Quick is not safe to use.

    I use Tender Quick in all of my curing, and all of my cured Step by Steps are using TQ. Hundreds of people use my Step by Steps. That's why I take it personally when someone says TQ is unsafe to use. Your saying that all of the time, is telling people that I am teaching them to use something harmful. That is why I contacted both of them.

    When the USDA stops them from selling it, or puts a warning label on it, I will stop using it.

    The email response I got from the USDA doesn't put the responsibility on Mortons. My question to USDA puts the responsibility on the USDA, and their answer was, "Enjoy your Home Made Bacon". Morton is obviously doing nothing wrong, or they would be ordered to recall their product, or put a warning label on it.

    Bear
     
  16. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Cigarettes are safe

    The cost benefit analysis for Mortons probably goes like this,  

    Money we make is greater then  the cost and probability of a successful lawsuit showing the nitrates in our product are directly responsible for a specific illness.  Simple math.

    The government analysis.  We make the regulations and allow the courts to figure it out.  If we get sued we can take action against Mortons but not until a legitimate lawsuit is filed.
     
  17. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The time you're using making posts like this could be utilized in contacting the two parties, like I did. Maybe you can find someone at USDA to support your cause? 

    For a guy who doesn't want to argue, you sure come up with some beauties.
     
  18. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Government funded or privately funded research is designed to STAY funded by making earth shattering, "The latest research indicates this will KILL you!", statements then applying for more research money to back their THEORY not FACT.... Flash 1990, "Eggs cooked to any temperature under 160*F will give you Salmonella!" NJ state bans restaurants from selling Over Easy eggs...Wrong!!!...Flash 1986, "Eggs are the leading contributor to High Cholesterol and Heart disease in the American diet...EGGS WILL KILL YOU!"...Wrong!!!...Flash 1970, "Research indicates that the consumption of Sodium Saccharine will cause Cancer...SWEET 'n LOW WILL KILL YOU!"...Wrong!!!... Global warming, Ozone Depletion, Swine Flu...Nitrate, Nitrite and Sulfides...SOMEBODY, SOMEWHERE is making money by making outrageous unfounded claims....Get my Point? Fight nice boys...JJ
     
  19. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Just remember to drink your 5-6 cups of coffee a day to reduce your chances of prostate cancer !!! The same coffee that did something bad to you. I don't remember what it was. I'm too old to remember stuff like that. Well, time for another cup of coffee.[​IMG]
     
     
  20. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    "I'm too old to remember stuff like that"....Flash, "SMF Chef applies for and receives multimillion dollar grant to prove Smoking Meat and Drinking Coffee causes OLD AGE!"...Film at Eleven...JJ[​IMG]
     

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